There’s no denying Grace is, at worst, a very good pro wrestler. Actually I guess you can deny it since wrestling is a performance art so it’s objectively subjective, but if you ask me in being a good wrestler rests on three legs, much like a milking stool. First leg of the stool you have the look. How convincing are you just based on seeing you? Are you memorable? Or do people forget about you as soon as you’re gone? Part of it is just the luck of the draw, genetics and so forth. But you have to make an effort. There’s a reason wrestlers have long hair and spray tans and big spiked shoulder pads. Take Gangrel for instance. Put that dude in a casual sweater and he looks like a middle school art teacher. Same dude with vampire teeth a puffy shirt and a goblet of fake blood? That’s a wrestler.
Grace has a good look. She’s tall, which helps, being tall draws people’s eyes to you right off the bat.
Plus she’s lean and mean and not too far in-between if you catch my drift. But that’s not all! Grace doesn’t move like a normal person, she doesn’t stand like a normal person, she has a whole vibe that makes people think “whoa, what’s going on there?” She sticks out in a crowd which is not great for her generally since she doesn’t like people gawking at her, but it’s what you want in a Look.
Leg two we have mic work/charisma. This is the most subjective of the three stool legs. Does the Rock have a ton of charisma or is he an unbearable catch-phrase spouting chore? Most people would say the first, others would say the second. Subjectivity aside, the core of “wrestling charisma” is, can you get your point across, can you tell your story, and can you get a reaction? If you asked Grace she would tell you she sucks at this but it’s actually the lever she’s best at pulling as a wrestler.
She has physical charisma which overlaps some with the Look but it’s different for sure. The Look draws the eye, but then what? When she’s in the ring Grace is smooth as a hot buttered hammer buddy, you want to see what she’s going to do. Grace learned early on that half the battle is just walking down to the ring. When she comes out you get her entire deal right away – her disdain for the fans and for the whole event. Grace isn’t a cool heel, she’s the heel that your grandma tried to hit with her walker at the Sportatorium back in the sixties. You don’t just want Grace to lose, you want to see her get her ass kicked.
As for Charisma-Charisma her crowd work is good to great, although she does tend to lean a little too hard on shock value/vicious mockery/snarky dickery. There’s heeling and then there’s just being an asshole and sometimes Grace crosses that Dudley Boys threshold. Probably because she more or less does hate the fans for really real and isn’t acting so much. Her mic skills are good for the indy scene, and if given time and opportunity she could develop into an all-time great heel promo, but for now she does what she needs to do in the small scale.
And the last milking stool leg – ringwork. Pros, Grace is a safe worker. I mean sure, she busted up two people bad enough they went to the emergency room but that wasn’t a work you know? If there was another category for not getting pissed and shooting on someone she wouldn’t have a good ranking there, but Grace never hurts anyone she’s not trying to hurt. She can bump and sell like nobody’s business and she’s good at making her shit look devastating with a light touch. She’s great at getting heat and keeping the crowd involved.
Cons – she’s not good at playing the monster heel. Most women are smaller than Grace so she should work on top, but her instinct is to take a beating and sell the hell out of it. This drives the old timers crazy. Even worse is when she wrestles men that are bigger than her, because that really only works – in the sense of not making people feel icky – when the woman takes on the sympathetic babyface underdog role. Grace has a hard time garnering sympathy because she doesn’t want sympathy. There are wrestling fans out there who do want to see a woman get wailed on by a “hero” but we don’t want them at our shows. Or on the planet. And the final con is that Grace hasn’t gotten the hang of working with a partner, she gets lost in tag matches.
But overall she’s good at wrestling. Another thing she’s good at is magic. But we’ve covered that in a post before and this has already gone on way too long. This was all just to set up to say that one thing Grace is NOT good at is trying to connect with an angry teenage girl on a personal level. Or connect with anyone really. She needs to work on her soft skills.
Grace and Cassie are not far from Andrea’s apartment at one of those coffee places that doesn’t look like it’s even a business. It’s a huge old house with over-stacked bookshelves everywhere and little alcoves with giant overstuffed chairs where you can sit and gaze incomprehensibly at the rain-spattered window with a copy of Wuthering Heights open before you. There’s an abundance of feelings and soft talking in this place. This is not some wifi-hot spot bullshit where people sit at laptops to work on shitty short stories and crappy screenplays, this is where overwrought poetry is spoken and interpretive dance routines that challenge your idea of gender identity are bespoken.
Until Cassie ordered a chai latte Grace thought they were in a library. And where did that person she gave her order to come from? Out of a secret door? They were suddenly just there. I mean there’s a cat lazing on a windowsill, is that even allowed in a place of business? Where’s the health inspector? Grace can’t get comfortable in her chair because she never stops feeling like she’s sinking further in – that sensation should last like a second tops, and that’s for a new chair. Hence, she’s shifting around like she’s sitting on a cloud.
“So uh . . . right . . . . uh . . . yeah . . . that guy with your mom . . .”
Cassie glares at her with the threat/fragility/desperation possible only in your teen years “She’s not my mom.”
Grace nods quickly “Yeah, right, your uh . . . what do I call her? Your guardian?”
Cassie snarks as only a teen can snark “You mean the woman that kidnapped me? Her name is Andrea.”
Grace clears her throat “Uh yeah, I suppose . . . that’s . . . uh . . . anyway . . . that guy with Andrea, he’s bad news . . . he . . . uh . . .”
Cassie takes a drink of her tea and favors Grace with a level gaze “Dale is a fucking asshole. He’s pretending to be interested in Andrea so he can steal her ring. I’m sure it’s magic so that means that he’s magic too.”
Grace thinks for a moment “Right. He’s part of a group that my . . . associate and I were looking for . . . and . . . uh . . . well you see . . .”
Cassie bites at the air angrily with her words “What do you want from me? What the fuck are you doing here?”
Grace shakes her head “I had no idea you were here, your, Andrea didn’t want me to talk to you. I wanted to, after . . . what happened, but her sister told her . . .”
“What happened that night? Who are you?!”
“I was protecting you. I saved your life didn’t I? Andrea’s sister asked me to help find you because . . . of what you were doing . . . I mean before that night, and I did that and you know what happened then . . . with you and Andrea. But then Andrea’s sister got killed and she had told Andrea that if you were ever in trouble to contact me so when you were taken by that boy’s father she called me.”
Cassie leans back sulkily “And so what, you’re like a witch or something?”
“I can cast spells, real spells. That’s how I found you for Andrea’s sister the detective and that’s how I sent a version of myself to help you that night.”
“You mean astral projection?”
“So do you have my book then?”
Grace is wary “Yes.”
Cassie glares at her resolutely “I want it back.”
For the first time in this conversation Grace looks sure of herself “No.”
They stare at each other for a moment, Cassie trying to look as hard as a teenage girl can – which isn’t going to faze Grace one iota.
“So if you’re not here for me what are you here for? Something to do with the ring?”
“It’s . . . I have history with the people Dale is . . . with. I was looking for them for something else, I don’t know about a ring, I didn’t know that you and Andrea were involved with them. Maybe there’s more going on here than I know. What I know is that every time I’ve been around an object with magic power really bad shit happens. What can you tell me about this ring?”